Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:19 am (KSA) 21:19 pm (GMT)

Iran’s Karroubi vows to keep protest alive

Hundreds of thousands of people poured onto the streets of Tehran soon after last year's presidential vote (File)
Hundreds of thousands of people poured onto the streets of Tehran soon after last year's presidential vote (File)

Opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi on Sunday vowed to continue fighting the presidential "vote scandal" which rocked Iran, a year to the day after the death of a young woman at a Tehran protest rally.

Karroubi's latest salvo comes 12 months after a deadly demonstration in the capital against the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad led to the killing of 10 people, including Neda Agha-Soltan.

A mobile phone video posted on the Internet showing the young woman bleeding to death in the street during the June 20, 2009 rally became the symbol of the uprising against Ahmadinejad's re-election.

 Your stolen votes and the right which was unjustly taken away is a scandal which will not be wiped out at all 
Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi

In an open letter to Iranians posted on his Sahamnews.org website, Karroubi criticized supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and attacked the authorities for jailing protesters and "filling cemeteries" with those killed in the unrest.

"Your stolen votes and the right which was unjustly taken away is a scandal which will not be wiped out at all," said the cleric who has refused to accept Ahmadinejad's re-election.

"I once again declare in all honesty that I will be committed to my pact with you until the end."

Hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters poured onto the streets of Tehran soon after last year's presidential election result returned Ahmadinejad to office for a second term.

The opposition movement claims that the poll was massively rigged in Ahmadinejad's favor, and has continued to reject his government ever since.

Dozens of people were killed in the clashes between protesters and security forces, and thousands were jailed in a crackdown launched by the authorities to quell the demonstrations that rocked the pillars of the Islamic regime.

Different view

 The authority and domain of Velayat-e Faqih has been expanded so much, it is unlikely that God could have granted so much authority to the prophets and Imams. I don't even think God would have considered such a right for himself in dealing with his people 
Karroubi

On Sunday Karroubi, a former parliament speaker who was defeated in the election, said the people viewed the result differently from Khamenei.

"The leader declared his view about the election, but we saw that the people, with all due respect to him, thought differently by claiming back the votes they had cast," he said.

He was referring to a June 19, 2009 Tehran Friday prayers sermon by Khamenei in which he openly backed Ahmadinejad's re-election and called for an end to street demonstrations.

Opposition supporters continued to protest for several weeks after Khamenei's call.

Karroubi accused Khamenei and the authorities of using ideology to expand their powers beyond those allocated by the constitution.

Khamenei has proved to be a rock-solid advocate of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's ideology of the Velayat-e Faqih, the notion that religious authority is the supreme political authority in an Islamic republic.

"Why have they resorted to Velayat-e Faqih to undermine the constitution and the Islamic republic which depends on people's votes?" Karroubi questioned.

"The authority and domain of Velayat-e Faqih has been expanded so much, it is unlikely that God could have granted so much authority to the prophets and Imams. I don't even think God would have considered such a right for himself in dealing with his people."

Karroubi accused the authorities of "depriving people of their right to question by sending them to Kahrizak and filling cemeteries."

During last year's unrest several protesters were sent to Kahrizak detention centre, south of Tehran. It was later ordered closed by Khamenei after reports that inmates there had been widely abused.

Officials have acknowledged that at least three protesters died while in custody at Kahrizak.

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